Within/Without These Walls 2017


Brisbane Open House is a free public festival that celebrates Brisbane’s architecture and offers behind-the-scenes access to buildings across the city. AndAlso Books is unlocking the history of some of Brisbane's most iconic landmarks, places, and spaces during Brisbane Open House with 'Within/Without These Walls' — a free live storytelling program featuring some of Brisbane's best writers and historians.

'Within/Without These Walls 2017’ takes place at 5 special Brisbane locations over two days (7-8 October). Join us at Boggo Road GaolParliament House, Brisbane, and Diamantina Health Care Museum on Saturday 7 October, and The Old Windmill, Brisbane and St John's Cathedral on Sunday 8 October for tales of death and detention, riots and ratcatchers, education reforms and epidemics that helped shape Brisbane, Queensland, Australia!




Boggo Road Prison - 10.30am

Jonathan Richards: The Case of the Dead Detective

Matthew Wengert: Border Busters & Red Flaggers

Parliament House - 1pm

Jill Barker: Schooling Parliament––How Charles Lilley pushed free education through the House

Diamantina Health Care Museum - 2.30pm

Pamela Rushby: The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter––Plague in Brisbane, 1901

Matthew Wengert: PnuFlu––Governing the Spanish Flu in Queensland, 1919



Old Windmill Tower - 10.30am

Ray Kerkhove: Brisbane’s First Public Execution, 1844

St John’s Cathedral - 3.30pm

Duncan Richardson: Dr Hobbs and the Flying Cloud, 1864

Matthew Wengert: Difficult Measures––Why Doctor Hobbs borrowed a police revolver

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Duncan Richardson

Duncan is a writer of fiction, history and educational texts. He is keen to uncover the hidden stories of Brisbane’s past and has just published Year of Disaster, a history book about the various disasters of 1864.

Jill Barker

Jill started writing after other studies in the fields of science, visual arts, and feminism and after a career exhibiting and teaching in visual arts. In her writing she aims to tell stories from the past in immersive ways.

Jonathan Richards

Jonathan is one of Queensland’s foremost archival researchers, based at the University of Queensland. He is author of The Secret War, the most authoritative account of the Native Mounted Police and the colonial frontier war.

Pamela Rushby

Pamela has published several works of young adult fiction. The Ratcatcher’s Daughter is set during the outbreak of bubonic plague around Woolloongabba in 1900.

Ray Kerkhove

Ray is a professional historian and expert on Indigenous people’s use of local places in the pre-colonial and colonial eras.

Matthew Wengert

Matthew has a longstanding interest in the histories of crime and medicine, with a particular focus on dramatic stories of epidemics. He is currently researching several stories about the impact of Spanish Flu in Brisbane and other places in Queensland.

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Boggo Road Gaol opened in 1883, over the years of operation it gained a reputation as Australia’s most notorious prison. There were many infamous inmates including the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire-bombers James Richard Finch and John Andrew Stuart, and the “Houdini of Boggo Road”—escapologist and jail-breaker Slim Halliday. Forty-two prisoners were executed by hanging—the last in 1913. In the 1980s Boggo Road was the scene of dramatic escapes, riots, hunger-strikes and roof-top protests which led to the prisons official closure 25 years ago in 1992.

Heritage-listed Number 2 Division, the remaining section of Boggo Road is as it was when it closed in 1989, a time-capsule of the past. It is part of the new Boggo Road Urban Village redevelopment. Since 2012 Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd has conducted historical tours, events and experiences at the historic site. Boggo Road Gaol provides an invaluable lesson about Australian history, crime and punishment, law and order.


The Old Windmill Tower is Brisbane City Council’s flagship heritage asset. Operating by 1828, it is the oldest convict-built structure surviving in Queensland, the oldest windmill tower left standing in Australia and the only one built by convicts.

Built to process the wheat and corn crops of the Moreton Bay penal settlement, the tower featured a treadmill as the sails frequently did not supply enough power to work the mill.

It was converted to a signal station in 1861. The architect was Charles Tiffin and the work was carried out by John Petrie, the prominent contractor and mayor of Brisbane, who replaced the rotating cap and arms and added a fifth floor.

A flagstaff was erected in 1865 for flying shipping signals received by telegraph from Fort Lytton. The 1pm time ball was replaced in 1866 by a time gun and the present time ball, installed in 1894, was dropped until the mid-1950s. From 1922 to 1926 the tower was used by the Institute of Radio Engineers, and during the 1930s and 1940s it was the venue for pioneer television broadcasting.

The tower base is approximately 8.4 metres in diameter reducing to about 4.5 metres at the top. Excluding the time ball and mast it stands at about 16 metres high. The exterior is rendered in a mock dressed stone finish. The interior ground and first floor walls are stone with a lime mortar. The upper floors are timber-framed with hoop pine floorboards. A hexagonal staircase, largely of red cedar, winds around a central pole connecting the ground to the single-level observation house and platform surmounting the tower.


Parliament House, Brisbane, was built in 1865-68 to the design of the Colonial Architect Charles Tiffin. It was Queensland’s first purpose-built parliamentary building, replacing temporary chambers in former convict barracks on another site. The building was extended in 1888-91 and a high-rise Annexe was added in the 1970s to provide additional offices and services, including meeting and function facilities and overnight accommodation for Members. The nineteenth-century building was extensively renovated in 1981-82 and continues to house Queensland’s Parliament.

The building stands on an important site in inner Brisbane next to the Botanic Gardens and the former Domain, and overlooking a bend of the Brisbane River. The whole site is entered in the State Heritage Register and is subject to the provisions of the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.


The Diamantina Hospital for Chronic Diseases was established in 1901 by adapting the facilities of the Diamantina Orphanage, named for the wife of Queensland’s first Governor, Lady Diamantina Bowen. Amongst the Hospital’s original staff was the Head Wardsman and Dispenser Mr Frederick Staubwasser.

In 1907, planning a marriage, Mr Staubwasser requested a cottage be built for him and his wife within the hospital grounds. Constructed in 1909, this house, now known as the former Dispenser’s House, is the last remaining structure of the Diamantina Hospital. Mr Staubwasser and his family lived in the house until his death in 1938, when he held the position of Hospital Superintendent.

In 2003, the former Dispenser’s House was renovated and opened in 2004 as the Diamantina Health Care Museum. The Museum showcases artefacts from the history of the hospital including early surgical equipment and machines, information on significant people from the history of the hospital, photographs of the development of the hospital, and information on Lady Diamantina Bowen.


The St John’s Cathedral precinct lends an old-world charm to its modern surrounds. It includes the Cathedral, The Deanery (1853), Webber House (1904), Church House (1909) and St Martin’s House (1922). The Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist was designed in 1888 by noted English architect, John Loughborough Pearson, in neo-Gothic style. 

The Deanery – originally a residence for Dr William Hobbs, former clerk of works of the Moreton Bay penal colony, was used as an interim Government House until 1862, and was where Governor Bowen read the proclamation creating the colony of Queensland in 1859

St. Martin’s War Memorial Hospital was constructed on the site of the old Pyrmont Hospital in 1921. Designed Lange Powell and said to be inspired by William Morris’ Red House. The Hospital was closed in 1971 and the building is now used as Diocesan and Cathedral offices.